Thursday, June 28, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 110: "Mekanix"

X-Men Unlimited # 36, Mekanix # 1-6, X-Men Unlimited # 38

Oooooh Kitty Pryde.

We follow Kitty in her new life away from the X-Men. She deals with the death of her father on Genosha, then is targeted by a college hate group called Purity. Between dodging Purity attacks, FBI raids, and meetings with a therapist, Wild Sentinels attack Chicago. Kitty also gets a fun supporting cast: Karma and her siblings; her boss Devon; and Sholoa, a Genoshan. After all this, she continues to deal with the death of Colossus on the one year anniversary of his death.

I love Kitty Pryde and despite some rather silly and boring moments here and there, this is a fairly nice character story. We really get into Kitty's head, catching up with her since she was last an X-Man circa "Revolution." I applaud both Claremont and Rucka.

The "Mekanix" limited series does drag on a bit. The art isn't the best. Where's Lockheed? But really, beneath all of the cliches and lame scenes, the character of Kitty shines through and that seems to be point of it all.

Awww, lil' Kitty's all grown up!


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 109: "Rocktopia"

Uncanny X-Men Annual 2001, New X-Men # 127, Uncanny X-Men # 401-409

Uncanny X-Men Annual 2001 – The X-Men investigate a new drug ring. It’s being run by the Vanisher and is based on humans using Mutant gene therapy to have temporary powers. The X-Men find out its Vanisher, but he gets away before they are able to do any real damage to him.

New X-Men # 127 – Xorn investigates a Mutant in the newly-established “Mutant Town” in NYC. Unfortunately, the mission ends in tragedy, but Xorn gets some musing.

Uncanny X-Men # 401-409 – The X-Men confront Banshee, who has formed a paramilitary unit called the X-Corps. Run by Banshee and with members including M, Jubilee, Husk, Maddrox, Sunpyre, and Radius; as well as “former” criminals the like of Blob, Avalanche, Abyss, and Fever Pitch. Turns out that Banshee is using illusionist Lady Mastermind to control these former criminals. Unfortunately, Mystique is using Lady Mastermind and an anti-Mutant terrorist group called ARM to manipulate Banshee and to ruin it all. Eventually, Mystique gets sucked into Abyss and Banshee gets his throat slashed. During all this, Nightcrawler and Chamber ended up with Kurt’s out circus buddy and Kurt is trying to figure out what’s wrong with him and what the Church of Humanity did to him. In the aftermath, the X-Men investigate the Vanisher again, which brings Kurt into conflict with a priest turned Mutant-wannabe who is then killed by the CoH. With the help of renewed-in-the-X-Men Stacey, Warren is able to take apart Vanisher’s drug empire by buying it out.

Let’s start at the beginning . . .

Uncanny X-Men Annual 2001
Kudos on making the Vanisher interesting. However the story suffers from Vanisher’s power to vanish and the art. Ashley Woods’ work is great . . . but not very good with storytelling.

New X-Men # 127
A nice introduction to Mutant Town. A good look at the (supposed) inner musings of Xorn. Good art. Good comic.

Uncanny X-Men # 401-409
You know, it’s surprisingly hard for me to write this. Seriously. In the entire time that this entry has not been up, I’ve been struggling with what to write here. I’ve finally just decided to let it all out . . .

There’s just something not right about the “X-Corps” story and I finally think I know what it is. While it does kinda serve a metaphor for “the end of X-Men spin-offs,” Banshee just isn’t portrayed right. Moira or no Moira, Sean just doesn’t feel right here. His character arc is interesting, but too many things happen that Sean just knows better about. Bringing in criminals to do his job and controlling them using another criminal? Come on!

The arc after that is an improvement, as it uses the best elements of Casey’s run – the Vanisher/Drug story and the Church of Humanity. Wish it could have been better and it never really was revealed just what was wrong with Kurt during Casey’s run, meaning it was up to Austen . . . and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Casey’s run was intriguing, but never really achieved its potential. It constantly felt like he was trying to find a balance between Claremont’s old school super-heroics and Morisson’s “new” feel and direction – and he just never found it. He brought a darker, more brooding edge the X-Men that fit some characters – like Chamber and Stacey – but hurt others, like Kurt. I also would have liked to have had a stronger conclusion to his overall story involving the Church of Humanity.

But oh well.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 108: "Invasion"

X-Treme X-Men 2001, X-Treme X-Men # 19

Okay. Let's something out into the open before we kick this off. For the record, things are going to be changing a bit here. In order to speed up up-dates, expect to see shorter story summaries. This story in particular is going to be the Reader's Digest version. Other than speeding up the amount of up-dates, this will also serve to help me as my schedule has suddenly gone quite insane with me working and going to school. I now only have one day off a week.

So, with no further ado . . .


After dealing with the Shadow King and the mind-controlled Pierce and his Reavers (told you they'd be back) and subsequently imprisoning the Shadow King, the X-Men are faced with a new threat. Someone stole a ruby that was part of a set from Madripoor - this was the one that that crimelord had in the last arc. Anyways, a new lizard-like villian by the name of Shaitan attacks the X-Men and kidnaps Gambit and Lifeguard and takes Storms' ruby (which is also part of this set). He then uses the rubies and Gambit to open a portal and to establish a slowly materializing tower from which the evil Khan has conquered hundreds and/or thousands of cross-time Earths.

The X-Men take Khan captive, but he is rescued and Storm is dragged along to the tower with him, being proclaimed his new queen. The X-Men split up, with an all-powers-accessing Rogue and the newly-activated Davis Cameron (a portal opener now code-named Slipstream) to handle the invasion forces of Khan's army and Thunderbird, Sage, Lifeguard and Bishop to rescue Storm and shut down the tower.

Eventually, Storm strings Khan along and he loses focus. Vargas shows up, looking to kill Gambit, but Rogue gets there in the meantime and hangs onto her lover. Then Storm and the X-Men flood the tower. Shortly after returning and blowing the crap outta Khan's ship, the portal is closed when Vargas "kills" Rogue and Gambit (who was laying right under her). In the aftermath, Rogue (accessing Logan's healing factor) goes after Vargas and kills him. However, she also manages to channel Destiny's power and reveals that the "wheel of destiny is broken" or something.

Nightcrawler, Phoenix, Kitty, and Beast show up to help the gang recover. Davis runs because his sister is scary now. Heather and Thunderbird go off to help him or something. Gambit and Rogue, their powers kinda dead, decide to build a relationship. This leaves Storm, Sage, and Bishop to figure out what they want to do with themselves.

I have to say, out everything Claremont has offered up since his return the X-Universe, this is actually among his best. Sure the dialogue is cheesy and cliched at times. Storm being nominated Khan's queen is dumb. The dropping of the Books of Destiny subplot just like "that" is just a litte unbelieveable.

That being said, there's so much good material here. Tons of action, great characterization, a great threat. It's old-school, but it's good old-school, which is rare for Claremont. A little too drawn out, though. How many aftermath books did we get? Three? But that's okay, I can live with it.

And kudos for jetisoning Lifeguard, Thunderbird, and Slipstream (who just happened to have a power they just happened to need right then and there). I'm not keen on these characters, though I have to admit Neal's grown on me a bit.

Larocca's at his prime here, though it can get a little too cluttered here and there. Nice easter eggs tossed in there too, for those of you paying attention.

So, not bad. Very old-school, which works in it's favor. Actions-packed, exciting, a little cliched, but enjoyable nonetheless.